Turning 50 in style

>> It was a birthday he’s not likely to forget in a long time. This Friday, on the eve of his 50th birthday, when Ehsaan Noorani, music composer and guitarist of the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio, dropped into Bandra’s Bungalow 9, he had absolutely no idea that his family had organised a surprise party and had managed to gather a room full of people who had been important to him from near and far.

Gathered in the standing-room only crowd were musicians, bandmates, Bollywood producers and old friends and new, amongst whom were his Rock On producer Farhan Akhtar with dad Javed, the mustachioed brothers Pandey, and lyricist Prasoon Joshi. As one guest said later, “You should have seen the look of genuine surprise and delight on his face when the lights came on!”

Happy birthday Ehsaan. Rock on!

Politics and movies
>> A little Bandra bird tells us that all is not well between the politico sister and her famous star brother with a penchant for trouble. Apparently, the trouble began when the star’s wife’s under- production film ran aground due to lack of backers. Apparently, few financiers wanted to be associated with the project because of the star’s current legal situation, forcing his wife to turn to old friends, who happen to be a current Chief Minister and his dad, for help. The problem, of course, arises because this duo is on the opposite side of the political fence from the sister, and the association is a huge potential embarrassment. Politics and films rarely make a good mix!

The Big Fat Greek Party
>> Last Friday, most of SoBo’s young and restless crowd was at the Thalassa Pop Up at The Olive Bar & Kitchen’s Bar Night, to sample the legendary Goa-based restaurant’s gyros wraps, fried calamari and flavourful saganakis.

We hear that since the invites were sent out only via Facebook and word-of-mouth, the two promoters and the DJ were soon swamped with over 600 people showing up at Friday Bar Night, clamouring to get through the pale blue gates.

Neil Nitin Mukesh

The crowd consisted of young SoBo hipsters, designer hippies, investment bankers, fashionistas & foodies alike, all bopping to Jai ‘Nanok’ Vaswani’s retro tunes, that included Ignition by R Kelly and current Billboard hit Wake me up by Avicii.

By midnight, we’re told the atmosphere turned electric, when Mariketty Grana, the gregarious owner-chef of Thalassa, started the now popular plate-breaking celebrations.

A D Singh poses with Mariketty Grana, the owner-chef of Thalassa

Guests embraced this with great gusto and soon, shards of broken plates were flying everywhere! Spotted bopping were Parveen Dabbas who came in for the food and stayed for the fun, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sameer Dattani, Mukul Deora, Shaan Khanna and model Alyssa Chesson.

Susheela Raman gong
>> “Received a gong last night from Mr and Mrs Lakshmi Mittal for being an outstanding British self-made woman of substance,” wrote Susheela Raman, one of India’s most accomplished musicians exported to the UK, who happens to be on the list of performers we are happy to take flights across the country for. Raman is currently on the cusp of one of her most exciting projects yet. “It’s a new album that reflects my work in recent years living in London but travelling to work with master musicians from India and Pakistan,” says the talented singer. Featuring master musicians from Rajasthan, Sufi qawwali singers from Pakistan, it also has her long-standing companions — guitarist/producer Sam Mills, tabla maestro Aref Durvesh, drummer Tony Allen and French cellist Vincent Segal — playing on it. And now that Raman has decided to strike out on her own and eschew the record label route by choosing to embrace crowdfunding through PledgeMusic, her fans have the opportunity chance to get the album before anyone else, along with exclusive experiences such as Skype chats, personalised video messages, handwritten lyric sheets and also vinyl and book products.

“It’s a hugely exciting idea for the me and people I work with, to be in partnership with the people that like our music. It gives us the freedom and responsibility to deliver music straight from the heart,” she says. Those interested can log on to:

Salaam Mumbai: Pappu can dance!
Many moons ago, when I lived in Delhi, he was one of my closest friends. After all, his bungalow on the leafy Aurangzeb Road was a stone’s throw from my apartment on South End lane (now Rajesh Pilot lane, I believe).

Those days, Naveen Patnaik, was a man of letters, a consummate sophisticate, friend to the world’s most formidable hostesses like Sao Schlumberger and Jackie Kennedy (the latter had edited his book on Ayurveda).

More than anything else, Naveen or ‘Pappu’, as his friends knew him was a thorough gentleman, with an unmatched knowledge of art, travel, lifestyle, books and the finer things of life. In Delhi’s somewhat cultural wasteland, his company was a soothing balm.

At his home, we had met many interesting people: Mick Jagger, Koo Stark, the Maharani of Jaipur amongst others.

So, truth be told, when we learnt that he had been chosen to lead his party, the BJD, after the death of his legendary father — Odisha’s tallest son — Biju Patnaik, we wondered how our gentle, sensitive friend would cope with the rough and tumble of politics.

Obviously very well, going by his leadership in the Cyclone Phailin crisis. His timely intervention has saved millions of lives, according to reports and best of all, his interviews in the aftermath demonstrate that he has the mark of a true leader - that of sharing credit with his team.

Which is why, once and for all, we are officially going to bury our concerns about his coping with the hurly burly of politics, and with that, the nickname he was known by in his earlier avatar.

From now it’s going to be Naveen Patnaik Sir!


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